Everything today is virtual. Whatever happened to reality? From virtual meetings and virtual business, to virtual education and virtual assistants, the boom of online virtual engagement is impacting everyone. Thanks, Covid!
And while many people are still trying to figure out how to pronounce Alexa's name properly to get her to help them out, most of the population has been forced to embrace a virtual world, replacing the real experience with a remote one. No industry is immune to this virtual phenomenon as it provides a way for every business to feel like they are essential. However, the real estate market is one of the few areas that has not only helped during this time, but it has also reaffirmed that the new way isn't always better.
VIRTUAL HOME VISITS DRIVING ONLINE DEMAND
Digital tools are helping drive the housing market. While the market sustained a slight dip in sales during March, down about 13% in units the Mahoning Valley according to MLS-YES Data for March 2020, the demand is still growing. Individuals are still showing their houses and viewing houses online. According to a new report from Redfin, brokerages saw a 494% increase in requests for agent-led video home tours during the first week of April alone online across the country. Just because people are in their houses, doesn't mean they want to stay in them forever.
EVEN DOUBTING THOMAS CAN BE CONVINCED TO BUY
Many buyers and seller are skeptical right now about the abilities of brokerages and agents to help them with their home search. The thought of doing a virtual tour of a home by walking through it as you sit somewhere else is as oxymoronic as it sounds. However, it is a reality. Virtual home showings allow for even the biggest skeptics to see that it is safe and comfortable to buy or sell a home now with trusted real estate agents who not only embrace this new reality but know how to handle socializing and showings from a distance.
VIRTUAL SHOWINGS CANNOT REPLACE THE FINAL STEP TO BUYING A HOME
While I am the first to admit that virtual showings are an effective tool in this climate, they cannot replace the comfort in seeing, touching and walking through a home you are about to purchase. This is the largest purchase of your lifetime. It will be where you will make a family, find comfort and, in some cases, are quarantined away from the outside world. It will be a part of your family just as your children, your spouse or partner and your pets. There will always be a need for seeing a house in person before you buy it and that will always be the reality of the real estate business.
While virtual home showings are helping bridge the social distancing gap that exists for buyers and sellers, it is showing how technology can help us continue on in a new world. However, like other industries before, NOTHING will replace the personal engagement a person has before committing to a decision like this. Virtual car sites like, Carvana, allow you to test drive the vehicle for 7-days before committing, clothing box companies like, Front Door Fashion, let you try on the clothes and see if you like them before they bill you for it, even dating sites help you meet the person before you go any further. Virtual elements and buying experiences are tools to help you properly make a decision and see if what is out here is something that interests you. However, like so many other industries, a virtual home showing will never replace the reality that seeing a house in person is truly believing when buying a home.
Don't Sit on Selling Your House
I've heard the story more than I can count. Someone was ready to sell their home and then the COVID-19 pandemic broke out and now they are stuck in their home. They want to sell, they even found their dream home listed on the market to purchase, but the virus has infected their ability to sell their home. And I follow up this story with the same answer every time: Why aren't you listing your home?
While the real estate market may not be operating in a traditional manner during these tough times, your YCAR real estate agent, and professionals all across the Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana areas are working tirelessly behind the curtain to make sure the industry is still safe and viable for you to own what you so rightful earned and deserve. While, I will admit, there are still unknowns, economists, experts and even the data from March reveals that you are in a prime position to sell your home to a very attentive and desirable market.
Your Home is in the Palm of their Hand
Where are you right now? In your home. Where is everyone else? In their home…searching, most likely on their devices and computer for their high school graduation to post on social media, the latest stats on cases of the virus in our area or the real story about "The Tiger King." But they are also browsing homes on the market. Screen time is up for people as they find ways to pass the time. One of those ways is searching a more desirable home. You'll find real estate professionals doing more ads, more social media posts and more ways to remain connected with prospective buyers who are, literally connected 24/7 now. Putting your house on the market now will allow people the opportunity to
Get Ready for the Boom
Arguably, the hardest industry that needs to adapt to this new way of life for the short term is the real estate industry. Open Houses are closed, and private showings are publicly forbidden. We all should STAY AT HOME and do our part in making sure our community is healthy so we can get back to normal, everyday life. But when that happens, it's going to be the loudest mic drop every as people flock out of their homes.
When the stay at home order is lifted, WATCH OUT! Your home's opening is going to be similar to a new iPhone® release, a new PlayStation® or people trying to get tickets to YLive. People will have already seen your home online, been cooped up in their homes and ready to see your house in person, living out the dream they have been imagining as the walls of their home started to close in. They will have been obsessing over your house for weeks, months even. But not unless you take advantage of listing it now.
Days on Market is a Thing of the Past
Let's be honest, every day is running together, right? The only reason I knew it was actually Easter Sunday was because of the messages on Facebook. I actually said out loud, "Today is Sunday?" And I'm guessing I am not the only one. Days on the market used to be taboo. A home that has been on the market for an extended amount of time carried with it a stigma that it could be bought for a lower amount than listed or there was something wrong with it that no one has bought it yet. Throw that thought out of the window! In a post Covid19 world, days on the market for the immediate future will not be a hinderance to your sale…it will actually help you! Why? Well, the aforementioned point that people are connected, of course! With more days on the market, that gives more and more people an opportunity to have seen your home in preparation of the flood gates opening back up. You can use this time to proactively show your house to the market looking for it online. When the world returns to business as "usual," the days on the market will not be a factor in the negotiation or sale as everyone will know what happened during that time and it will not be a stigma anymore. Rather, it will be a useful tool in being able to show people your home while they sit finding all the imperfections being stuck in theirs.
We are all sitting in our homes now, waiting for this to pass…and it will. However, if you were thinking of selling your home, now is the time to consider listing. The attention of people online and your ability to engage with them through your real estate agents has never been better. The opportunity to take advantage of low rates, rising home values and higher engagement rates online during this time is only playing into your hands. The one thing you don't want to do, is sit on them.
A RECESSION DOES NOT MEAN A HOUSING CRISIS
If you are homeowner, you are likely concerned about the impact the tidal wave known as, COVID-19, is going to have on the value of your home. While our health care providers and leaders use historical data on this virus to make decisions on how to best preserve and protect each one of us, all of us are doing that as well for our own lives. When it comes to the value of our home, we've seen this story play out not too long ago. The financial and housing crisis of 2008 is not a too distant memory in our minds and wallets. Many of us were just finally starting to enjoy being out form underneath the challenges that brought upon our homes, both figuratively and literally. However, before you begin to feel and panic, thinking that this is déjà vu all over again, I'm here to make the outlook a little better for you and show you why the recession we are going to embark on from the effects of COVID-19 does not mean we are on the precipice of a housing crisis.
A Recession Actually Means Progression of Your Home's Value
No, I'm not playing a tricky word game with you, this is actually true. Recessions are nothing new for our economy and it seems absurd to use "recession" and "progression" in the same sentence. We've managed to get through them before and we will do it again. However, one of the areas recessions have not negatively impacted has been the housing market. In the passed 40 years, we have had 5 recessions, 1980, 1981, 1991, 2001 and 2008. In three of those five years, home prices and values actually APPRECIATED instead of falling. Your home is still one of the best investments you can make, as it is one element that tends to grow in value even when everything around you seems to be falling.
This Is A Different Type of Recession
Look, a recession is a recession. I get it. But what most people don't get is that this recession is literally unlike anything we have ever seen before. Think about it: the recessions in our lifetime or, quite frankly, every recession we have ever had has been triggered by a failure or issue with our financial system. Recessions have always happened because of factors that are internal to the financial systems we have in place in our country. In 2008, the recession and housing crisis was triggered by poorly executed home loans and risk. That caused us to go into a recession that took years to come out of due to a failure in our system. However, this is totally different. This is the first ever self-declared recession in the history of our country.
The recession we are going to embark on is being caused by an external virus or force that has NOTHING to do with the system we have in place. Our economy is strong. Our banks are strong. Our commitment and will of this country is strong. This means that the factors controlling the recession are actually controllable. You, everyone and me have a way of digging out of the recession in the way we dampen the curve and end the virus. Which means, in essence, the impact of this recession will be short lived as long as we sacrifice now by staying a home, doing what our leaders tell us and adhering to the healthy habits of social distancing our health care providers are begging us to follow.
This Too Shall Pass…Quickly
If we have a control and a say into how long this recession lasts by our actions, this means that the recovery process will also be quicker. Once the virus infection rate peaks, the recovery from it will gain momentum and quickly rebound, especially as we role into the 4th quarter of this year and 1st quarter of 2021. Rates are aggressive and are at some of the lowest in the past 50 years, inventory of houses are low because people can afford their homes and are holding onto them because the value is appreciating and the median income needed to purchase a home is more than 10% less where it was prior to the housing crisis of 2008. All of this points to a strong foundation to a quick recovery when WE decide to end this recession.
It is normal to hear recession and think the worst. However, as a homeowner, looking at historical data should calm your fears that recessions usually lead to higher returns for homeowners in the value of their homes. But beyond that, this recession is unlike anything we have ever seen because of the factors causing it. More importantly, we will rebound faster than we have ever done before, both in terms of the value of our home and the value of quality of life we can start to live again, by the decisions we make to stop the spread of this virus and get back to living a better life together.